Bullying of children with food allergy: its influence on wearing medical identification
A study of 110 children and teens with food allergy found that 75% did not wear medical identification for various reasons, and 16.3% reported not wearing it due to the fear of being bullied.
The research, published in Pediatric Child Health in June 2016, was conducted by Dr. Bahar Torabi (McGill University), Dr. Edmond Chan (The University of British Columbia), Dr. Francesca Cardwell (University of Waterloo) and AllerGen Research Leader Dr. Susan Elliott (University of Waterloo).
“Children with food allergies are at risk for anaphylaxis, and the timing of administration of epinephrine is crucial,” says Dr. Torabi, a pediatric allergist, a postdoctoral fellow in the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at McGill University, and the study’s first author. “The social stigmatization and fear associated with wearing medical identification may make food-allergic children even more vulnerable.”
“We hope that this research will help physicians, parents and teachers to understand how bullying impacts behaviour, and to assist them in developing tools for prevention and management,” adds senior author Dr. Chan, a pediatric allergist at BC Children’s Hospital and Head of the Division of Allergy & Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics of The University of British Columbia.
Dr. Elliott and Dr. Chan are part of an AllerGen-enabled multidisciplinary stakeholder group working to develop a National Food Allergy Strategy for Canada.